I'm a CCNA and I need career advice

Unanswered Question
Jan 16th, 2010

Hey all. This is my first post on this forum, I don't know if it belongs here or not, so forgive me. I got CCNA back in October, and I've had horrible luck getting a job. I also have other certs (A+ and Network+) and about 1 year of experience. I cannot get a help desk job! Does anyone live in the San Diego, CA area and know anyone? Any websites where I could post in different forums? I need to know where to go from here. The economy is very tough right now, and other candidates always get the job that I do not.


- John

I have this problem too.
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Ganesh Hariharan Sat, 01/16/2010 - 21:15

Hi Jhon,

After completeing CCNA if you have interest in network and are having clear knlowdge in network,Then i would suggest to carry on with CCNP routing and Switching.Getting job all depends on little luck and rest is on your pure knowledge and hardwork.

So dont get depressed rather get concentrate in higher knowledge enhancement in network.Hope that helps out your query!!

If helpful do rate that post.



I'm not sure going for CCNP with no experience is the right move but if you do think about it go over the new track details

I think you should look for a job first and get some experience to achieve 2 goals: experience and better understanding of networking AND knwoing that this is something you are interested in doing

CCNP require a big time and money investments and without the right background I do not feel it is the right way to go

good luck!

john03090309 Sun, 01/17/2010 - 14:46

The problem about getting a job is just that... EXPERIENCE. How do you get experience without having a job in the first place? I've honestly revised my resume over 9 (NINE) times within the past few months, highlighted stuff I did for jobs that have nothing to do with computers, but employers just don't seem to count any of my previous jobs as relavant EXPERIENCE. Even my current job as a Computer Networks Instructor some people would argue doesn't count or substitute for real world experience. What is one to do if they love networks, know all about them, but yet cannot get into the field because of no track record with any company? I have taken a lot of classes in the field, and I have taught them to students that HAVE gotten jobs, yet I cannot get one. I thought doing help desk was the perfect way to get in, but even that job requires experience. Is there anything below a help desk position or entry-level that I don't know about? I'll even work for minimum wage right now; I'm that desparate for experience and a job.

- John

marikakis Mon, 01/18/2010 - 14:03

After reading your last post John, I have one comment regarding your resume: when applying for technical jobs, it is generally not a good idea to mention things that are not technical. Technicians are people and it's good to have hobbies or done other jobs, but mentioning those in a resume for a technical job is rather risky. A friend of mine once read a resume for a software engineering position and a guy was saying he is a great chef! I think he got the job in the end at the time, but I still think it was not a good idea. People expect technicians to be very focused on their resumes. If they ask you during an interview you can mention other jobs, but rather briefly. (I was trying to post this yesterday, but site was having some issues at the time.)

As has been said already, the first job is always the most difficult to get. I remember I was searching for some time, it was back in 2001 and this was definitely not the best time of my life. Sometimes employers take some time to even consider calling people for interviews. After I had accepted my first job and worked for almost a month there, I received a call from another company asking me to come for an interview. Sometimes this process is really random.

john03090309 Mon, 01/18/2010 - 15:52

Well, in regards to mentioning the non-technicial aspect of jobs, I usually stick to stuff that I think people will want to see on a resume, not stuff that is completely random. Sorry if I phrased that incorrectly. Right now, I'm having horrible luck, and it's mostly because I have no experience on a Help Desk Job, and employers are looking for experienced employees in that field. I did take advice and I just joined WINSUG, a group in where I live in north county san diego where users get together and network ideas about IT. They used to come all the time here to our campus at Coleman College, but no longer.

As far as my employmejnt history, I only have had one job that deals directly with IT, and that is my current job as a Computer Networks Instructor/Jr. system Admin. I've had to highlight things in my non-technicial jobs where I did help people with computers to fill up the gaps in employment, becaused I don't want people thinking that my current job is my first job ever. Most of the time where I work at Coleman right now, we get very little support for fixing equipment, networking computers, or purchasing new hardware, so basically, I've had to deal with a lot of troubleshooting issues myself with older hardware (going all the way back to Pentium 3 machines!!). I even know more than our network administrator, who was someone they just stuck in the position because they couldn't find anyone qualified. He has never touched or configured a Cisco router or switch at all. But it's not my job though to be in charge of our production network... I'm an instructor, a trainer. I only have a BA degree, and I would otherwise move up and get a Master's, but it's still way too expensive, and I need to pay off a student loan currently.

I can e-mail my resume to anyone that is interested at looking at it. I've gotten different comments about which sections go first, whether to use paragraph form or bullet form, and how to include a career summary rather than an objective. I've revised it 9 times... I even tried using colored fonts one time, which I probably should not have done, because I was that desparate to try just about anything to make my resume stand out from the rest.

Are there positions lower level than a help desk?

- John

marikakis Mon, 01/18/2010 - 16:28

Hi John,

Up to now I see that you have done a lot of things (college, CCNA, and you have some training/experience). It seems to me you really like the networking/support field. I am not a resume expert and I am usually bored to write my own resume. I just don't like trying to make myself look very good on a piece of paper. My general advice is to keep it simple, focused and honest. I think this is what matters the most.

I am sorry I am not a 'very important person' or live near your area to just offer you a job now!   I don't know what 'lower position' really means and I don't want to understand it. I just don't view people like that. I prefer to think positions as 'entry level', etc. From a practical perspective however, maybe you could look at positions for 'cable technicians'. Those are typically found in telecom/ISP environments. We were calling those technicians 'operators'. They typically receive remote intsructions from other engineers about which machines to connect with a cable, which device to reboot, insert cards on machines, etc. I know a couple of engineers that started like this and are now 'senior engineers' in ISP.

Kind Regards,


marikakis Sun, 01/17/2010 - 15:08

Hi John,

First of all, do not (I repeat: do not) lose your spirit! The state of the economy is not most people's fault, but the fault of only a few (can't really analyze this in this post). Also, it is not true that people get what they deserve. Most people get less, only a few get more and those few use cunning ways to get the more. To have better chances of doing well in an interview you should try to stay confident no matter what. A support engineer is supposed to solve issues sometimes under pressure, so some confidence is expected. I am not talking about 'sales person' style of confidence, but being calm at least.

I rather disagree with the opinion that says you should first work and then get a certification. This makes more sense when jobs are plenty. Also, if you restrict yourself in one goal (that is to get a job) and for reasons that do not depend entirely on you (the economy) can't make it really quick, this will only increase your disappointment. I don't see why you can't study while you are looking for a job. This will relax you (you won't be thinking about interviews all the time), you will learn a few things, and do good to your confidence levels when interview time comes. Sitting back and waiting for a job to fall from the sky is not something I would recommend. It is not a coincidence that school/college enrollment increases during times of financial difficulties. People just have to do something, stay active, instead of sitting back and waiting.

Now, if for certain reasons you need a job ASAP, do not restrict yourself in a certain expertise. Try to find any kind of job or consider relocation if possible.

Kind Regards,


Edit: I hadn't seen your previous post when I posted this.

jgagznos Mon, 01/18/2010 - 10:36

Hey John,

The first job in IT is always the most difficult one to get.  I recommend that you try using the "Human Network" and I'm referring to the real human network such as making relationships and contacts within the industry.  Try to get connected to people who are working in the industry.  A great way to do this is to join some of the user groups in your area.  Join the Cisco Users group  - join technology groups in your area - volunteer at non-profits in your area.  These are all incredibly powerful ways to meet hiring managers and show people that you are serious about the industry.

Hope that helps with the job search,


john03090309 Thu, 04/22/2010 - 00:15

Well Guys and Gals,

I thought I might give everyone an update on my situation. Early last month, I got a phone call from one of the employers that I had interviewed with. When I last interviewed with them, I asked if it was possible for them to get me an internship job. They told me they would think about it, and I hadn't heard back from them until I received the call last month. I'm starting straight out right now as a System Administrator Intern, and it's really exciting. I'm mostly in charge of managing and monitoring servers, IP addresses, KVM switches, Exchange/Email, and level 2 user support. It's not a full-time job like my other job is, but at least it's a start, and I was fortunate enough to be taken in by the company.

Now, I've been really busy with a lot of different projects, since we are short-staffed, and have a lot going on at once. I'm contracted for 24 hours on-site, and off-site remote availibility 24/7 for $1500/month for 6 months. I'm learning a lot, and it's not always just as easy as setting stuff up. I haven't had a chance to mess with the routers yet, but I have Windows Domain administrator access, and a lot of responsibility burdening on me. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it right? At least now I can afford a cell phone plan, which, may be my undoing of sleep, but oh well   It's a medium-size business of about 80 users, including off-site users as well from India, China, and Henderson. I just hope they will hire me on full-time, but at least the government will be providing health insurance now to those uninsured like me who cannot get insurance because of pre-existing conditions and only part-time employment. Having 2 jobs isn't bad though, at least I can transfer my practical knowledge to the students now.

- John


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